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Kings try to refocus for Game 4, but OT loss lingers

by Curtis Zupke

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A day passed for the Los Angeles Kings to let their emotions settle down, only to have reality set in.

Two late penalties drew all the attention -- and complaints from Kings players -- after a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. That obscured that Los Angeles was uncharacteristically undisciplined, again allowed a lot of shots, yielded much offensive-zone time, and continued to see little production from its top line.

L.A. gave San Jose five power plays in Game 3, its most times shorthanded since Game 1 of the quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues. Prior to that, the Kings had not given the opposition five power plays since Feb. 17.

"I'm not happy taking that many penalties," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Sunday. "It doesn't matter if we agreed with the calls or not. It doesn't have any impact on anything."

Forwards Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams are having almost no impact on the scoring summary with a combined one point (Brown's power play goal in Game 2). Williams appears to be banged up after he missed shifts late in Game 2 and took a big hit from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart in Game 3, and Kopitar needed 20 stitches for a puck in the face in Game 2.

Sutter, after some prodding, addressed the issue.

"I think we're playing against a team with [two top] lines and we need our two top lines to be -- without our top checking centerman (Jarret Stoll) -- to be very productive," Sutter said, "and I think if I look at the series … if we've scored four even-strength goals in the series, and they (Kopitar's line) haven't scored one, then I'd say that we'd expect more."

Two of L.A.'s five goals in Games 2 and 3 came at even strength and each was a terrific unassisted effort by Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. Outside of that, the Kings' 5-on-5 offense is getting bottled up as they are spending more time in their zone, having allowed 106 shots in three games.

In Game 3, San Jose directed 81 shots at the goal: 40 on net, 26 blocked and 15 missed.

"Generally they have one of the higher shots-per-game as a team," Brown said. "I think [Joe] Thornton really controls the puck well. That's probably a lot of their zone time. We got to find a way to limit his time and space out there. He's big and he protects the puck and he's really good on the offensive side of the puck. I think a key to that is when he's on the ice, we get in his zone and make him play [defense]."

The Kings still found themselves answering questions about a goalie interference call on Trevor Lewis that led to the game-winning goal. Several Kings publicly voiced their disagreement after the game, and goalie Jonathan Quick received a game misconduct for tracking down an official and jawing at him after Logan Couture's power-play goal cut L.A.'s series lead to 2-1.

Kopitar shrugged it off.

"It's the position that we put ourselves into that is mind-boggling," he said. "It's not the way we want to play and be in that situation. We came close to killing it off, but just like we've said it all along, you can't give them too many opportunities, because they will score and they did."

Quick slammed his stick on the post before he skated to the wall to find the officials. He also appeared to argue San Jose's first goal, also a power-play goal. Whether Quick felt he was being interfered with, too, and didn't get the call was a moot point to Sutter.

"I think he's got to handle that," Sutter said. "He can't be frustrated. That's a byproduct of being a great goaltender."

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